Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2014 Contents A9
December 7, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
'Health workers need to go back to basics'
Each one of us may have a
unique way of calling out to
the Lord. But which is the
way Lord Himself likes?
Let's see what the Lord has
God alone is totally selfless as a friend and
benefactor. - Baba
To pray to God with excessive adulation and request
a favour stems from a tone of despondency.
Describing Him as One who is beyond praise by
Brahma and other gods, and narrating glories beyond
description of how He helped devotees and then ask-
ing, "Oh Lord! You have talked to them and given
them so much! Why don't You come to my help?"
appears to stem from jealousy. It is only when God is
regarded as a friend and a companion that He is
pleased the most. When you address Him as, "O my
dearest friend! My beloved One! The darling of my
heart," you are giving Him the greatest joy. We use
words of praise towards an unfamiliar person to show
respect and regard as he/she is a stranger. But we
welcome an old friend with easy familiarity and inti-
macy. Hence approach God as your loving friend, He
will come to your aid and fulfill your needs.
• From Page A8
I am acutely aware that we need to get back to
more patient-oriented service, to be more sensitised
to the patients point of view and their expectations,
patients education, patients awareness, and a lot
of patients stress can be alleviated or reduced sig-
nificantly by just proper communication. Holding
their hands, giving them a hug. That little bit to
show that we really care.
You have been a medical practitioner for the
past 17 years. Is there truly a lack of compassion
by some of your colleagues towards their patients?
You are always going to have a few bad apples,
always. (Sombre expression) That is human nature.
I have worked in the public service 17 years and
the majority of the doctors are driven, committed
to making a positive transformation in patients.
But a heavy workload can frustrate any worker
and there is only so much you can give a patient
in terms of quality time. When you have 100 people
to handle between 8 and 12 pm, tremendous effort
is required there.
We need to beef up our primary health facilities
so that minor ailments such as coughs or cold can
be addressed there before reaching the hospital.
What about the accusation that some doctors
cover up for their colleagues in matters of liti-
(Half smiling and almost immediately breaking
out laughing aloud) Boy, what are you asking me?
You like cantankerous situations, eh?
But yes, doctors have been sued and there may
be some element of truth in that, but, like I say,
the majority of practitioners are committed to
helping their patients.
I cannot speak about the minority...it has to be
addressed. That is a tough question, and I do no
not know exactly how they are going to deal with
those bad apples.
Isn t it a fact that almost all of them work on
Yes, and at the end of the contracted period you
are appraised by your superiors and that is one
way of tackling the problem. If at your evaluation
you are found to be a poor performer or deficient
in any way, it would show up in your performance
Is there anything like a psychological
test doctors have to undergo before going
to work in the hospitals?
No such testing, and it is the same sit-
uation at all the campuses at UWI, but
when the performance appraisal shows a
poor performing standard you may not
get your contract renewed and that has
happened, eh...based on the performance
So there is a mechanism to deal with
Yes. We do not publish that, for obvious
Doctor, what do you think would be
your biggest challenge in this new posi-
The biggest challenge, I guess, would
be getting the various stakeholders to work
together towards achieving the goal of
having an efficient and delivery-conscious
NCRHA, but I look forward to boldly and
courageously tackling those challenges
ahead of all of us.
Doctor, I always like to refer to this
conversation I had with the then Minister
of Health Kamaluddin Mohammed, who
told me in the 1970s that the ministry
was like a mental institution and if any-
body was to fix it, it was him. Do you
agree with that assessment of the min-
istry made so many years ago?
(Cupping her chin and sighing) You
know what I would call the health sector?
This high energy, fast pace, extreme
higher adrenaline levels in their wards
and casualty, everybody doing their duty
towards their patients, but somehow or
the other working together as a team to
achieve one goal.
That is the only way, you know...every-
body has a specific skill and duty that
they bring to the institution and they have
to work together, which is the way I knew
it, coming out as an intern, that you have
to respect people more experienced than
you, even if they were not doctors but
valid members of the health team.
Is organised chaos the ideal way to
run a health institution?
(Heavy chuckles) It has to be fast-paced.
Medicine not only has to be precise and
accurate, but you have to be quick on your
feet, because it is lives you are dealing
Chaos in that everybody is doing dif-
ferent things at the same time, so it is
not necessarily a negative thing. In fact,
most hospitals exist like that, but it is
organised, and once you have good lead-
ership it works.
"I am acutely aware that
we need to get back to
service, to be more
sensitised to the patients'
point of view and their
awareness, and a lot of
patients' stress can be
alleviated or reduced
significantly by just proper
their hands, giving them a
hug. That little bit to show
that we really care."
--- Chairman of NCRHA,
Dr Nalini Kokaram-Maharaj
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